Unattended Children Policy
May 13, 1996
Board Approved – Revised March 9, 2009
The Gwinnett County Public Library welcomes and encourages children and their caregivers to visit the library, use library resources and services, and attend library programs. Caregivers must be mindful of the fact that the library is an open, public building. The well-being and safety of young children left alone raises serious concerns. Parents, guardians, and/or caregivers are responsible for the safety, behavior, and supervision of children at all times in the library and on library property. Library staff cannot assume responsibility for any child, even for a very short period of time.
It is not the intention of the library to seek out unattended children, but rather to have a reasoned policy in place that ensures the safety and comfort of all library customers. Failure to act in accordance with this policy will result in disciplinary action as outlined by the Library Board approved Code of Conduct.
While acknowledging that children mature at different rates, these provisions are based on guidelines from the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services:
1. Children ages 8 and under should not be left alone in the library. Responsible parents or caregivers must remain within sight or sound range of their children at all times to ensure safety and appropriate behavior. Caregivers must be 13 or older, able to effectively supervise young children, and must be willing and able to provide contact information for a parent/caregiver upon request. If library staff deems a child under 8 years old to be in need of supervision and no parent/guardian can be located/contacted, police will be contacted.
2. Children between age 9 and 12, based upon maturity and ability to act in accordance with the Code of Conduct, may use the library unattended. Children in this age range must be willing and able to communicate parent/caregiver name and telephone number upon request. If library staff deems a child between age 9 and 12 years old to be in need of supervision and no parent/caregiver can be located/contacted, police will be contacted.
3. Children ages 13 and older who comply with the Code of Conduct may use the library without parent/caregiver supervision. While the police may be called if warranted by the seriousness of Code of Conduct infractions, less serious infractions may be handled by staff asking minors age 13 and older to leave the premises. The library does not assume responsibility or liability for children asked to leave the property.
Public announcements are made throughout the last open hour of each business day to remind all customers to arrange for their ride home prior to the library's closing. The library system will make no determination as to the suitability or authority of anyone arriving or being contacted to transport a minor from library grounds or for minors leaving library grounds, and cannot legally detain a child who wishes to leave the property. Two staff members will wait with minors lacking transportation, for thirty minutes after the library closes. After thirty minutes, the police will be contacted to address the situation.
Library staff members are not permitted to transport any child or adult to another location.